Welcome to the eighth installment in my ten-part Natural Immune Booster series. If you’re just joining us on this journey, there are links at the end of this article for the first seven natural immune boosters. I will share the last three of them with you this week. Today we will study ginger.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical practitioner of any kind, and this series of articles on natural immune boosters is not intended to diagnose or attempt to cure any disease. This series is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, please see your medical practitioner for professional advice.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is such a common spice we may not think of it in medical terms, but it is an amazing medicinal. It’s only been recently that we think of ginger strictly when cooking or baking (think, curry and ginger bread), but it’s considered to be the most ancient of spices and was used medicinally for millenia.
Ginger is a rhizome in the same family as cardamom and turmeric. This pungent root is an antispasmodic, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic. The root can be used fresh, dried, or via essential oil.
Ginger’s many benefits and uses have been studied in numerous clinical trials. (See my reference links below for more information.) Some of these studies have shown great promise for the use of ginger in the treatment of cancer – from reducing tumor size to suppressing metastasis (spreading throughout the body) to killing cancer cells. One study has shown that ginger rivals cancer drugs against prostate cancer because it inhibits 5-LO enzymes, which are the ONLY food for prostate cancer cells. Without 5-LO enzymes, prostate cancer cells die within one to two hours!
Forget the Ben Gay and pick up ginger. The phenolic compound gingerol in ginger is an analgesic that inhibits the production of cytokines that cause pain and swelling. Ginger ointment made of ginger powder and water relieves sore muscles, headaches, and migraines.
Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, rivaling the best NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen) on the market. Compounds in ginger prevent the production of prostaglandins, which are precursor hormones of inflammatory mechanisms. This property makes ginger a great adjunct to the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, and other inflammatory diseases.
As an immune booster, ginger balances the entire immune system and enhances its protective functions. It activates T-cells, which destroy tumor cells and cells that have been infected with viruses. Also, studies have been done to test ginger’s use as a treatment for asthma and have found that ginger suppresses the Th2 cell mediated immune response that occurs in asthma patients.
Here are some other medical benefits of ginger:
- Stimulates digestion
- Relieves nausea, morning sickness, and motion sickness
- Soothes indigestion and reduces gas and bloating
- Detoxes the body (used fresh, it stimulates sweating, which releases toxins)
- Contains zingibain, which dissolves parasites and their eggs
- Has blood-thinning properties
- Helps eliminate hot flashes
- Supports kidney and liver health
- Improves blood lipid profiles by reducing triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol levels
- Reduces blood glucose levels
WARNING: Don’t use ginger if you have gall stones. If you are taking blood thinner medication such as Warfarin, don’t take more than 4 grams of ginger a day. Also, use only low doses of ginger if you’re pregnant. If you have any medical problem or are taking prescription medications, please talk to your medical practitioner before using ginger.
I am currently taking ginger for its anti-inflammatory benefits. I drink tea made from 100% ginger, and I’m looking for ways to add fresh ginger to my food throughout the day.
Do you use ginger medicinally? How do you add it to your diet?
For further information on ginger, please visit these sites which I read in preparation for this post:
- Beloved Ginger
- Learn the Health Benefits of Ginger for a Great Immune System Boost
- Ginger and the Immune System (mentions several studies)
- Benefits of Ginger Root
- Ginger’s Many Evidence-Based Health Benefits Revealed
MORE IN THE NATURAL IMMUNE BOOSTER SERIES
- Coconut Oil
- Oil of Oregano
- Manuka Honey
- Tea Tree Oil
- Colloidal Silver